“What a buffoon,” Levin said of O’Reilly, host of Fox News’ "The O’Reilly Factor.”
“He doesn’t want to talk about socialism. He doesn’t want to talk about the beginnings of this scandal. No. The same guy who claims to have led the boycott against France that forced France to do whatever France was supposed to do. What a joke. What a moron. He doesn’t understand. He is Ted Baxter.”
On his own program, O’Reilly initially threw some bricks at conservative talk radio in general.
“It gets me angry,” said O’Reilly. “I do talk radio and most talk radio is conservative-dominated ideologues; Kool-Aid drinking idiots. Idiots. Screaming at you that this is socialism, this is this, this is that. ‘It’s Clinton’s fault.’ It’s Clinton’s fault? He hasn’t been in office in 8 years. It’s Bush’s fault! It happened under Bush’s watch.”
But then O’Reilly’s tirade seemed to aim at Rush Limbaugh—without actually naming him.
“But let’s get back to this talk radio stuff,” said O’Reilly. “These idiots. I mean, they’re misleading you. They’re lying to you. They’re rich, these guys. Big cigars. All of that. ‘Yeah, oh yeah, my private jet!’ And they’re saying, ‘Oh, no! No bail out!’ Uh, uh, no way!
“Hey! You’re going to get it, not them!” O’Reilly continued. “That foreign investment pulls out, we are toast! And they’ll pull out if this bailout doesn’t happen. Are you getting the message here? Walk away from these liars, these right-wing liars. Walk away from them! They’re not looking out for you.”
On his show later Thursday, Levin responded to O’Reilly by name in a “take-no-prisoners” electronic version of the shootout at the OK Corral.
Levin started by noting the research he, Limbaugh and Sean Hannity do for their daily programs.
“If you’re going to be an intelligent observer and commentator, whether on radio or TV, you need to take the time to educate yourself, if you’re not already educated, about all the issues that come before you each day,” said Levin. “You need to take the time to research them, and you have to call them as you see them. This is what I do each and every day.
“This is what Rush does each and every day. This is what Sean does each and every day. And so many other great talk show hosts,” said Levin.
“And I’m not talking to some of you backbenchers, and you know who I mean,” said Levin. “These blowhards. You get arrogant, stupid people who get paid a lot of money to be on radio and TV to be arrogant and stupid. And one of them, one of them is on the Fox News Channel, my favorite cable channel. And he has a fledgling radio show that has no ratings, and he’ll be off radio soon because he’s a failure. It’s the non-factor: Bill O’Reilly.”
Levin, who serves as president of the Landmark Legal Foundation when he is not on the air, described O’Reilly, who graduated from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, as being “utterly unencumbered with information.”
“And he is no conservative,” said Levin. “He’s another mainstream, moron, phony journalist. That’s what he is. And, oh, jealous like hell of Rush Limbaugh. Did you notice that? The cigar and the airplane? Let me tell you something else, jerk. You can’t hold a candle to him.”
CNSNews.com has placed an interview request with O’Reilly’s publicist, which has not been answered. Levin, meanwhile, declined to elaborate on his comments.
Rick Pearcey and David Kearl contributed to this report.